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Sears Shares Soar on $1 Billion Lifeline

February 10, 2017, 2:20 PM UTC

Sears Holdings (SHLD) allayed fears of an impending cash crunch amid ongoing cratering sales by announcing moves to cut costs by $1 billion, sending shares up 27% in morning trading Friday.

The moves by the long-struggling retailer aim to reduce corporate overhead and more closely integrate the operations of its Sears and Kmart chains, as well as improve its merchandising, supply chain, and inventory operations. Sears Holdings has been closing hundreds of stores in recent years, including 150 in a recent announced effort.

A Sears spokesman told Fortune that the latest restructuring could result in job cuts, but he could not specify how many.

Shares rose to $7 Friday in a sign of relief that the company has staved off an immediate liquidity shortage. Still, the stock remains well below its 52-week high of $19, and Sears, once the largest U.S. retailer, still has a market value of only about $750 million, on par with much smaller retailers like Barnes & Noble and Tailored Brands.

Last month, credit ratings agency Fitch estimated the company would burn through $1.8 billion in the fiscal year that just started an even bigger cash drain than 2016, sending shares to an all-time low. Fitch estimated Sears would have to raise some $2 billion to get through the latest cash squeeze and hinted at the possibility of bankruptcy.

“We believe the actions outlined today will reduce our overall cash funding requirements and ensure that Sears Holdings becomes a more agile and competitive retailer with a clear path toward profitability,” said hedge fund manager and CEO Eddie Lampert in a prepared statement on Friday.

Of course, he’s been saying that for years with little improvement to show for it. Sears Holdings stock, about half of which is owned by Lampert, has been hit by concerns about the retailer’s prospects amid chronic and deepening sales declines.

And those problems persisted during the crucial fourth quarter, which includes the holiday shopping season. Comparable sales fell 10.3% during the period, including a 12.3% drop at Sears, far worse than its department store peers like Macy’s and Kohl’s. The company also said it expected revenue of $6.1 billion and a loss of $535 million to $635 million in the fourth quarter. Sears Holdings has lost more than $10 billion in the last six years.

Sears is cutting its debt and pension obligations by at least $1.5 billion this year, the company also said. Sears has been selling off assets for years to stay solvent, including crown jewels like many of its best stores, as well as the Lands’ End and Craftsman brands.

This story has been updated following the opening of regular trading Friday.